The rezone of a longtime lodge in Larsen Bay has sparked resistance in the island community.
The Foxtail Lodge has operated in a single-family residence district for many years, and the current owner is now seeking a business designation to comply with code and continue in the same capacity.
A business license dated to 2011 lists the lodge as a bed and breakfast and, according to documents in a recent assembly regular meeting packet, it’s been in the community for roughly 20 years.
At a Kodiak Island Borough Assembly work session last month, members of the Larsen Bay City Council and Larsen Bay Tribal Council flew into the city of Kodiak to give comment about the rezone. Larsen Bay City vice-mayor Bill Nelson read from a prepared statement.
“The lodge owner has continued to build additional structures on this property without building permits from the borough, expand his business into the fall and early winter months and has a septic system that is qualified to handle a residential lot.”
Documents from last week’s assembly regular meeting include the comment of a Larsen Bay resident who states that the rezone could “limit access” to a beach in the city used for subsistence harvest.
Another Larsen Bay local also writes that the large size of the property makes it ineligible for rezone under the updated Larsen Bay Comprehensive Zoning Plan.
At last week’s regular meeting, Assemblyman Kyle Crow expressed concern about standing against the wishes of residents in Larsen Bay.
“I believe even the culture of those communities has been disrespected by us approving these rezone requests. If we do so in this particular case, I don’t think there is any way that we can deny any other rezone request from any other village in this archipelago.”
Assemblyman Scott Smiley disagreed with Crow’s comments.
“It’s not the great evil that’s been characterized here tonight, and I feel that the borough in the past has done him wrong by trying to shoehorn an existing lodge into a bed and breakfast hole, and I think we need to repair that damage by revisiting this and having Mr. Munson get his business zoning for that lot.”
While Assemblyman Andy Shroeder said it’s troubling that the lodge could go up against Larsen Bay’s planning effort, he said the lodge owner is actively trying to come into zoning compliance and the assembly is obligated to honor the process.
The rezone is up for public hearing on July 19.